Movies + Video Games = Road Trip Fun!

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Goal: Have access to a library of movies and video games playable on all 3 screens in a 2016 Land Cruiser with no internet required. Remote controls for the video menu as well as the gaming menu will be XBOX 360 controllers. It must require only minimal computer experience and be easily repeatable. Preferably have an already documented process.

Prerequisites/Assumptions: I went into this with hardware installed from my Beatsonic Smartphone Mirroring Kit post, which gave me a HDMI input and a USB power source inside my glove box. This is only required to get this working on your front dash video screen. If you don't care about having that in the front and only want this accessible on the screens in the backseat, it's unnecessary. There is a HDMI input and a power source in the backseat, but that will only provide video for the back seat. You cannot use the rear A/V ports for viewing on the front screen.

Hardware required to follow my path exactly (you can modify this at your will, it doesn't require exactly what I used):
  • Beatsonic Smartphone Mirroring Kit
  • XBOX 360 controllers
  • XBOX 360 wireless battery pack and charger, I use the Nyko Charging Packs/Station (can fit in the back door pockets when not in use)
  • You can use the AC plug in the rear of the vehicle to run your controller charger, or buy a DC to AC inverter, I use a Stanley Fatmax Inverter (can fit in the back door pockets when not in use)
  • XBOX 360 USB wireless receiver
  • Raspberry Pi 2 (I would recommend using a Pi 3 at this point, I just had 2's on hand)
  • Wireless USB receiver (not required, I used a small cheap one from canakits)
  • You will need a microSD card for the OSMC OS
  • You can either use a very large microSD card for the OSMC OS or add a USB memory card to store your movies/game rom's (I recommend using a large microSD card to keep the power draw as low as possible)

Software/Guides:
  • The below guide is for installing OSMC and then Retropie on top of that OS. This is an easy process, but it's already written so why not use that instead of writing it again:
  • My suggestion if you're unfamiliar with these: Use Putty for SSH and WinSCP for transferring files (movies, roms, etc.)

The skinny: I spent a considerable amount of time trying out various builds, images, and software. Most methods worked well for 90%, but failed miserably in the other 10%. I landed on using OSMC (Open Source Media Center) which is in its most basic terms an operating system designed for running KODI, a media center software. I won't muddy the waters by going into much detail, but it's a very easy install.
For the most part, follow the instructions using the install guide I linked to get going, but please read my notes below completely before you get started to save some headaches:
  • Before you ever connect it to the land cruiser HDMI, you'll need to add "hdmi_safe=1" to the "config.txt" file in the /boot/ partition. If you're running Windows, you can connect the microSD card to your Windows computer and what you'll see as the drive is actually the /boot/ partition, so look for the "config.txt" file, add the text at the end of the line in there (don't add a new line or hit enter), save it, safely disconnect the card, and you're good to go. Without this text, all I ever saw in the Land Cruiser was a blue "No Input" screen.
  • When you first boot up the image, you should see the OSMC logo and it will do some housekeeping tasks like expand the image to fit your microSD card size. Following that, it will reboot, sit at a black screen with some text for a couple minutes, then it will boot into OSMC and start up the configuration tool for you so you can configure some important details that will help you later on
    • Do this entire process at a larger hdmi screen with better resolution, do not do this in your land cruiser unless you are very familiar with the questions it's asking. It's hard to read and picking a wrong choice here can make it not work right or not work at all.
    • If you ever need to modify any of these settings or even just your network settings, go to the add-on's section inside OSMC, look for "My OSMC" and choose to run that, it will run through the same settings.
  • I did not have to do any configuration for the XBOX adapter and controllers to work. I plugged the adapter in, turned on the controller, synced the controller to the adapter, and OSMC immediately recognized it and I could browse the menu.
  • If you're unfamiliar with using SSH, Putty, and/or WinSCP, try a couple youtube videos to figure it out, the barebones capability of each are not hard to figure out and that's all you need here.
  • When you run the retropie installer script, it will take a long time to complete (1 hour + for me on the Pi 2). Pi processing power is relatively low, so installers take a while.
  • I know that the Pi 2 can run Playstation and N64 emulators okay, I just haven't found the right emulators or settings for those. Lower emulators work fine.
Pics or gtfo right?

Main Menu


Movie


Game
 
Joined
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Nice! What are you using for power?

PS1 works fine on the Pi 2. N64 stutters all to hell... don't bother with it. Might be usable on the Pi 3 but I kinda doubt it. The Pi just wasn't designed to act as a 3D video rendering emulator.

My RetroPie+EmulationStation setup is a bit larger, but same effect. I have USB ports on the front so I can plug in specialized controllers for PS1, N64, etc.

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Nice! What are you using for power?
The "power box" that came with the Beatsonic IF-04EP package has 2 USB slots, one for the HDMI-to-AV converter and the other for whatever you want. In my initial install, I was using that with the Netgear Push2TV. I'm using that one for the Pi 2 now. I switch them out depending on what I want to watch...

Netflix/Hulu/Youtube (anything requiring internet access via my phone) - Netgear Push2TV
Movie files / Games - Pi 2
 
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Does your Push2TV have an audio lag? Mine does dot some reason. It's awful watching Playstation Vue streamed to my TV via WiFi Direct. I initially bought it for the 200.
 
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Does your Push2TV have an audio lag? Mine does dot some reason. It's awful watching Playstation Vue streamed to my TV via WiFi Direct. I initially bought it for the 200.
Just to clarify, this is referencing the Push2TV and is not related to the video in this post, the Pi 2 discussed here has no video lag at all:

The Push2TV did not lag with my older android phone, Droid Maxx, but the age of that hardware forced me to upgrade to a newer phone. The only "new" phone out today that I could find that had the software to perform wifi-direct was Samsung's S7, I got the S7 Edge. It 100% of the time lags by about 1-2 seconds. It's annoying to a perfectionist like me, but my wife and nieces/nephews don't care, they just like being able to have shows in the car on road trips to pass the time. I'm driving, so I can't really watch anyway.

Android 7 "Nougat" removed wifi-direct as far as how it works to play video and there is no app on the app store able to do it, so you have to get a phone vendor that includes the software. The only one I found was Samsung's Smart TV software.
 
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Joined
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Just to clarify, this is referencing the Push2TV and is not related to the video in this post, the Pi 2 discussed here has no video lag at all:

The Push2TV did not lag with my older android phone, Droid Maxx, but the age of that hardware forced me to upgrade to a newer phone. The only "new" phone out today that I could find that had the software to perform wifi-direct was Samsung's S6, I got the S6 Edge. It 100% of the time lags by about 1-2 seconds. It's annoying to a perfectionist like me, but my wife and nieces/nephews don't care, they just like being able to have shows in the car on road trips to pass the time. I'm driving, so I can't really watch anyway.

Android 7 "Nougat" removed wifi-direct as far as how it works to play video and there is no app on the app store able to do it, so you have to get a phone vendor that includes the software. The only one I found was Samsung's Smart TV software.
Yup, I'm on an S6 Edge, good to know it wasn't just me. I did notice the closer to the unit my phone was the less lag there was.

I might look into the Pi 2. Thanks for the post. Cool stuff!
 
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Yup, I'm on an S6 Edge, good to know it wasn't just me. I did notice the closer to the unit my phone was the less lag there was.
Now if I could only figure out how to set up wifi-direct through the Pi, I'm sure it would work a lot better.
 
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nice write up. May have to try it on my 16LC. I am currently mirror from my old phone where I have put all movies on it so works flawlessly but cannot do multiple items like you do. For right now is ok since only my daughter watches movies in the back, but may have more passengers in the future that may want separate things. Plus love techie stuff so sound like a challenge to follow you ;)
 
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The "power box" that came with the Beatsonic IF-04EP package has 2 USB slots, one for the HDMI-to-AV converter and the other for whatever you want. In my initial install, I was using that with the Netgear Push2TV. I'm using that one for the Pi 2 now. I switch them out depending on what I want to watch...

Netflix/Hulu/Youtube (anything requiring internet access via my phone) - Netgear Push2TV
Movie files / Games - Pi 2
How much power do those USB ports supply? I thought the Pi2 required a consistent 2A, and the Pi3 up to 2.5A. Most USB ports are 0.5-1A, though I've seen a few more recent high power ports that go as high as 2.1A.
 

Markuson

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How much power do those USB ports supply? I thought the Pi2 required a consistent 2A, and the Pi3 up to 2.5A. Most USB ports are 0.5-1A, though I've seen a few more recent high power ports that go as high as 2.1A.
If you've got devices that can utilize it, this is a pretty sweet little charger that puts out 2.4A at all four ports simultaneously...
If your devices can't handle 2.4, they'll just use what they can handle (2.1 or 1 or .5, etc.).

Been using two of them for over a year. Very well made and inexpensive:
Amazon.com: Anker 48W 4-Port USB Car Charger, PowerDrive 4 for iPhone 7 / 6s / Plus, iPad Pro / Air 2 / mini, Galaxy S7 / S6 / Edge / Plus, Note 5 / 4, LG, Nexus, HTC and More: Cell Phones & Accessories
 
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If you've got devices that can utilize it, this is a pretty sweet little charger that puts out 2.4A at all four ports simultaneously...
If your devices can't handle 2.4, they'll just use what they can handle (2.1 or 1 or .5, etc.).

Been using two of them for over a year. Very well made and inexpensive:
Amazon.com: Anker 48W 4-Port USB Car Charger, PowerDrive 4 for iPhone 7 / 6s / Plus, iPad Pro / Air 2 / mini, Galaxy S7 / S6 / Edge / Plus, Note 5 / 4, LG, Nexus, HTC and More: Cell Phones & Accessories
Those are pretty good. People tend to buy cheapo gas station chargers and don't understand why they don't charge quickly. A "high" amperage charger is night and day difference from those junk gas station ones. It's worth the extra cost.
 

Markuson

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Those are pretty good. People tend to buy cheapo gas station chargers and don't understand why they don't charge quickly. A "high" amperage charger is night and day difference from those junk gas station ones. It's worth the extra cost.
Ya, I've used Anker products for years, and they are very solid. The other gotcha out there are multiple-port units that "share" a max amp rating...but cannot supply full power to all ports simultaneously. The one I linked to delivers 9.6A total, with full 2.4 all around.
 
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How much power do those USB ports supply? I thought the Pi2 required a consistent 2A, and the Pi3 up to 2.5A. Most USB ports are 0.5-1A, though I've seen a few more recent high power ports that go as high as 2.1A.
3.4A each (it's a custom device by Beatsonic) and I'm using a Samsung Adaptive Charging cable which maxes at 2A.
 
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Ok I gave up..after reading your posts...i reallize that I need to take my ride to a audioshop for them to do installation. :) that is alot of work and too much technicals :)
 
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